Board of Review
The Board of Review consists of three members of the community appointed by the Mayor and City Council for staggered three year terms. At least two of the members must be property owners in the City. Property owners who are dissatisfied with their property assessments have the right to appear before this Board at their March meetings with their protests.
The Board of Review meets annually in March to review property assessment rolls for completeness, accuracy and uniformity, and to check for errors and injustices. Any property owner who feels there may be an error in assessment or who has questions or comments should attend one of the sessions. Property owners are encouraged to make an appointment to appear before the Board by calling 586-727-7571 ext. 0 or by coming in person to the City offices. Hearing dates are included on the Assessment Change Notices that are mailed in February and are also published in the local paper in February as required by state law.
To protect a taxpayer's right for further appeal to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, state law requires a taxpayer, or his or her agent, to file timely a protest to the March Board of Review. This may be done in person or by letter. All protests must be received before adjournment on the final day of the meetings. The exception to this rule is that commercial and industrial properties may protest directly to the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
At the hearing, you will be expected to present information as to why the assessment is incorrect. Appointments are scheduled at ten minute intervals so any information presented must be concise and factual. Decisions are not usually made at the meeting since the Board may request further information from the Assessor or taxpayer to use in making its decision.
A written notice of the Board's decision will be mailed to each taxpayer who protested to the Board. This notice also contains information on further appealing to the Michigan Tax Tribunal if the taxpayer is dissatisfied with the decision of the Board.
The Board of Review also meets in July and December for the purpose of correcting errors and mistakes.
Preparing for the Board of Review
- Is the field sheet accurate? If not, what is incorrect? It may be necessary for the Assessor to do an on-site inspection to verify the facts presented by the taxpayer.
- Do you have any comparables (properties like your own) that might indicate a different value? What are the differences between the comparables and your property?
- Have you had an outside appraisal done recently? You may want to have copies available for the Board to review.
- Are there any structure defects which would cause a temporary reduction in the value? Are they deferred maintenance? Approximately how long and how much would it take to fix them?
- Are there are nuisance factors which could affect the value of the property? What are they?
- Is the location a unique factor for the property? In what way?
When looking up any information at the Assessor's office, make sure you are prepared. You will need addresses or names of any home you may want to look up. Be familiar with your area for any unique problems. Know your neighbors - is their property "exactly" like yours?
Property owners are justified in being concerned about their rising property taxes. Other than being able to vote for certain millages, the only other recourse you have is to appeal your assessed property value.
Taxpayers need to be able to separate taxes from assessments. School Boards, counties and other taxing authorities establish the millage rates which calculate the tax bill. The assessor estimates the value of your property and then 50% of that value is the assessment.
It is important to be prepared when appealing your assessment. You need to understand how the value was arrived at. This will assist you when constructing your case. Try and find some properties that are similar to yours and which might have sold recently. You will need to find out what their assessed values are, the prices they sold for and any other additional information you feel may be important.
Try and remember that the assessor is not the enemy. They are following the State constitution and laws to perform their jobs. Their office can and will be able to provide you with information needed to file your appeal. Make sure you follow all instructions carefully. If the steps outlined by the March Board of Review and Michigan Tax Tribunal are not followed, your case could be dismissed.
The link to the State's website to obtain the forms for filing with the Board of Review in March can be found here.